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Property seizure

Verified 28 March 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Where a person is unable to repay a debt, a property owned by the person may be subject to foreclosure proceedings under certain conditions. This procedure results in the sale of the seized property and the refund of the creditors..

Situations that could justify a seizure of real estate

Property seizure is generally considered if, after receiving various payment requests (notice, in particular debtor ::

  • does not pay monthly mortgage payments,
  • or does not repay one or more consumer loans.


if the debtor is over-indebted, he may refer to the debt overhang board, who may request the suspension of the property seizure procedure.

Immovable property concerned

Any property owned by the debtor may be seized (house, apartment...). The value of the property must be substantially equivalent to the amount due.

Payment Order

The creditor with a enforceable title may address judicial officer to obtain payment of a claim..

The bailiff presents a pay command to the debtor. The command to pay indicates to the debtor the obligation to pay the amount due within 8 days.

This command to pay is worth seizing the property. The debtor can no longer sell it (except as part of the seizure procedure), give it away, or collect rent. The debtor can always live in the seized property, waiting for the sale (unless the command to pay orders expulsion).

Visit of the bailiff

If the sum due is not refunded within this period, the bailiff is entitled to go to the place to draw up a report (PV) of description of the seized property.

The bailiff may enter the dwelling:

Assignment to appear

The order to pay is published at the office of mortgages within 2 months of its presentation to the debtor by the bailiff.

Within 2 months of such publication, the debtor shall subpoena by the creditor(s) at an orientation hearing before the court judge.

Orientation hearing

During the orientation hearing, the judge shall take note of the observations and any disputes of the debtor and the creditor(s).

The debtor may request the amicable sale of the seized property.

At the end of the hearing, the judge shall determine the continuation of the proceedings:

  • authorizing the amicable sale of the seized property, or
  • by ordering its forced sale,
  • by terminating, suspending or interrupting the input procedure.

Application by debtor

The debtor may apply to the court judge for an amicable sale of the property without waiting for the orientation hearing. In this case, the debtor shall notify all the creditors concerned by the seizure.

Failing that, the request for an amicable sale shall be made at the orientation hearing.

Judge's response

The sale is possible if authorized by the judge.


The judge shall fix the minimum price of the property, in accordance with the economic conditions of the market.

It sets the date of the hearing that will allow to take stock, within 4 months maximum. Pending this hearing, the debtor must complete the steps required to sell the property.. During this period, the creditor shall have the right to request the cessation of the procedure for the amicable sale and to initiate the procedure for the forced sale of the property.

At the next hearing, if the debtor justifies a compromise of sale, an additional period of 3 months shall be allowed to conclude the authentic instrument of sale of the seized property.

After these 3 months, if the judge finds that the conditions laid down for an amicable sale are met, the sale is final.

If there is no buyer (or if the conditions set by the judge for the sale are not fulfilled), the judge then orders the forced sale of the property.

In case of sale of the property

The amount paid by the buyer is not returned to the owner of the property. It shall be retained before being distributed among the creditor(s).

  • If the amount of this sum exceeds the total amount due, the debtor shall receive the remainder.
  • If the sum is less than the total amount due, the debtor is liable for the amount of the remaining debts.


The judge of the court shall fix the date of the auction hearing of the seized property within a period of between 2 and 4 months. During this period, the announcement of the forced sale is the subject of publicity (publication in newspapers of legal announcements, posting of a notice before the property seized...). This is to inform as many bidders as possible. This is done by the creditor(s) at the debtor's expense.

The creditor(s) shall fix the amount of the price of the immovable property. In the absence of an auction, the creditor(s) shall be declared successful ex officio at that amount.

Where the amount of the tender is manifestly insufficient, the debtor may refer the matter to the judge.


the debtor and the creditor(s) may at the same time agree that the seized property may be sold over the counter.. This can be done until the auction opens.

Visit property

The property may be visited by potential buyers at the request of the creditor(s).


At the auction hearing, any bid shall be submitted by a lawyer acting on behalf of the potential buyer. The last bid wins the auction.

Any person may bid within 10 days of the auction hearing through a lawyer. This bid shall be at least equal to 10% the main price of the sale, and leads to the setting of an auction hearing.

At the end of the auction (or "auction", if held)

At the end of the hearing, a judgment of award summarizes all the challenges decided by the decision.

After expiry of the appeal period, the sum collected at the end of the last auction shall be distributed among the creditors. After reimbursement, the judge shall terminate the seizure procedure.

The purchaser of the property (or the successful tenderer) is entitled to request the expulsion of the debtor who occupies the seized property, unless the conditions of sale stipulate that it shall remain in the premises.